Ресторан, кафе, забегаловка

by Don  

One of the words that Americans tend to misuse is ресторан restaurant. Ресторан is a place where you go with friends to spend an evening together. Entertainment is often provided. The meal stretches out over many hours. МакДоналдс не ресторан. McDonald's is not a restaurant. At the very kindest McDonald's is a кафе. Кафе is a place where you go to eat, but you don't intend on spending much time there. There is another word that even better catches the idea of what MacDonald's is: забегаловка. The root of the word is бег- which means run, and the за- prefix adds the idea of dropping in briefly, so a забегаловка is a place where you drop in for a quick bite to eat. It's sort of what we would call a fast-food place in the US, but a забегаловка may serve alcohol as well.

Back in 1986 there wasn't a single McDonald's in all of Russia, but now every Russian knows them. Interestingly enough, even though the name of the restaurant is officially МакДоналдс, that's not how Russians usually pronounce it. Usually they pronounce it МакДональд, softening the ell and leaving out the ess, or they pronounce it МакДональдс, softening the ell and keeping the ess. And sometimes the thirty-something crowd of Russians is overshadowed by the muse of verbal efficiency and simply call it Мак-Дак.¹

Extra points to anyone who can tell me how they translate McDonald's slogan “I'm loving it” into Russian.

¹ The Мак-Дак name might also be a jokey adaptation that originated among Russians who saw Скрудж МакДак Scrooge McDuck in Утиные истории Duck Tales, which was broadcast on Russian TV in the early nineties.

1 comment

Comment from: Rob Zimmerman (aka Ростя) [Visitor]

The McDonald’s slogan in Russian is “вот, что я люблю.” I remember seeing it on a cup as I had lunch there one afternoon in Croatia. Do the American cups have the same thing? There were 20 something languages on there… no serbo-croatian, however.

04/11/09 @ 12:04

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